Wake Ed

Charter schools in Knightdale, Rolesville won’t open until 2018

Two new charter schools in Wake County received state approval Thursday to delay opening until 2018 while they continue to search for places to call home.

The State Board of Education approved one-year opening delays for Cardinal Charter Academy at Knightdale and Rolesville Charter Academy. Both new schools had previously gotten state approval to open in 2017 before asking for more time due to difficulties finding locations for their campuses.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow. There are 167 charter schools open in North Carolina this year.

One of the obstacles encountered by new charter schools is finding a facility. After finding a site, schools deal with issues such as road improvements required by municipalities and the state Department of Transportation.

State board members expressed sympathy for both Wake charter schools when reviewing the requests in January. The State Board could have turned down the requests, which would have cost both schools their new charters.

In their request, leaders of Rolesville Charter said they want a delay because the company that will manage the school, National Heritage Academies, can’t guarantee it will have a building ready by August 2017.

For Cardinal Charter Academy at Knightdale, it’s the second time school leaders have received a delay.

Cardinal was initially supposed to open in 2016, but school leaders requested a one-year delay because two locations in Knightdale fell through. In both cases, town leaders raised concerns with the locations.

After getting permission to delay opening to 2017, Cardinal looked at a location on Poole Road in Raleigh to serve east Raleigh and Knightdale. But in their request for the new delay, school leaders say the Poole Road site is no longer an option because of expensive DOT road requirements.